There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
What: Bamboo #2 with Dolin Dry Vermouth, Gilles Brisson Pineau des Charentes, Angostura Bitters, and orange bitters
Where: Mirabelle, 900 16th St. NW; (202) 506-3833; mirabelledc.com
What You Should Be Drinking: The original Bamboo cocktail—a sherry version of a dry martini—was created by Louis Eppinger of the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan in the 1890s. Visiting dignitaries began requesting it at watering holes the world over, until Prohibition squashed its popularity along with cocktail culture in general, and it was all but forgotten. Lead bartender Zachary Faden reinvented the drink, subbing out Spanish fortified wine for Pineau des Charentes, a French apéritif made with grape must and Cognac eau-de-vie. It’s stirred with Dolin Dry Vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters, strained into a coupe, and garnished with an orange peel.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: Both iterations of the Bamboo are elegant and luxurious yet simple three-ingredient cocktails where no single component needs to elbow out the others to be noticed. But if sherry is unfamiliar to some imbibers, Pineau des Charentes is all but unheard of, and when it does find its way onto a menu, it’s usually sipped neat. The apéritif adds lushness, nuttiness, and viscosity without coming across as cloying, and it counters the delicate herbal tone of dry vermouth. A few dashes of two kinds of bitters give depth and bright citrus that whet the appetite. Try it while lingering on one of the leather stools in Mirabelle’s gilded bar.